In March, House Republicans submitted a plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but the plan is expected to go through numerous changes before it can earn bi-partisan support to become law. Many Republicans believe that, even though the new plan is more oriented to the free market, it doesn’t go far enough to fix the ACA’s problems.
While Democrats are concerned that millions of Americans will lose access to healthcare coverage. The ACA was implemented in 2010 to increase access to healthcare coverage for all Americans. Key provisions included:
• Implementing market reforms
• Establishing health insurance marketplaces
• Expanding Medicaid eligibility for low-income adults
To meet those goals, the federal government mandated that:
• All individuals must purchase insurance or pay a fine
• Insurers offering health coverage must include 10 essential benefits
• Large employers must provide health insurance to full-time workers
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 20 million people were newly insured as a result of the ACA. The law, however, has many detractors. Opponents are concerned that the law could cost the government $1.34 trillion over the next decade, adding to a national debt that already is more than $19.8 trillion. Health coverage costs also have risen on the marketplace, because of ACA rules and regulations and rising healthcare and prescription drug costs, making coverage too expensive for many individuals.
In March 2017, the Congressional Budget Office reviewed the Republican’s plan and said it would cut $37 billion from the federal budget deficit, but would increase the number of people without health insurance by 24 million by 2026.